Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

what's up with heroes? 2 #12

Why do we have any heroes at all? I talked in my last post about why we have superheroes and how I think they stem from the fact that they can help us deal with our own problems a lot nicer than we can. But what makes a hero? Just a general one. Thomas Carlyle essentially said that a hero is somebody who flourishes greatly and pushes things forward. They're not perfect but they are great men. Of course this isn't all a hero is. Heroism is subjective. However, in literature there tends to be a sort of pattern to heroes called the monomyth or the hero's journey, as described by Joseph Campbell. (This video is actually kind of funny and does a pretty good job at detailing the different pieces of the hero's journey.)

All that being said, I believe all literature stems from human experience. So what human experience describes heroism? We hear of great myths of the past: warriors conquering great monsters and men rising up from unlikely origins to great power. So in the past what defined heroism was having the characteristics of those heroes. It's never been bad to be described as herculean because it is typically associated with some form of heroism. But obviously now we don't have great monsters(in the sense of like a hydra) to be conquered so how can anybody truly be a hero?
 I believe that now we see the heroes as the defenders of the weak, the ones doing the dirty jobs, the ones who volunteer as tribute. But why did things change? Did things even change? I feel that in our culture a lot of that came from out ideas of Christianity and how Jesus was seen as a defender of the weak. So, to be heroic became to be more selfless and less glory seeking. I suppose that isn't a bad thing. Heroism may be too subjective though to be able to really define. I'm ok with that though as long as they continue to inspire us to be our own heroes I think.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure you mean "great men" and women.

    You're right, a definition of heroism isn't crucial. But it is important to recognize the traits you find heroic, so you'll know what you're trying to emulate. (Otherwise, heroes are beyond recognition, perhaps "beyond good & evil." (Nietzsche approved that blank check, but we probably shouldn't.)